On our trip to #Hawaii we stayed on The Big Island, #Hilo for 5 days
As we were researching what to do in Hilo everywhere mentions to take a helicopter ride over the Lava.
We decided that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to cross off an item on our bucket List.
A Helicopter Flight over flowing #Lava of the #Kilauea Volcano
As mum was planning on flying too we had to research a tour that had no age limit and was happy to accommodate a senior or elderly traveller.
Another factor is if there is a cruise ship in Hilo then the helicopter tour companies might all be fully booked on the day. So book ahead to ensure your date and time slot.
The helicopters depart from Hilo airport,and was very easy to find their office.
After checking in, we had to be weighed so that they would be able to evenly distribute our weight in the helicopter.
In the departure room we had to watch a safety DVD which was similar to those that you watch before take-off on a plane, just outlining emergency procedures and what to expect on your flight.
Then we were shown to our helicopter, strapped in, given our noise-blocking communication headphones , shown how to use them and made sure we were happy and comfortable.
There were four of us on this flight. A french couple who sat up front with the pilot and mum and I. We had the whole back seat area to ourselves, a window each. All passengers in the helicopter wore noise-blocking headphones with built-in speakers so we could communicate with each other and our informative pilot
We had never been in a helicopter before but it was surprising gentle experience, the take-off was just simply lifted up very slowly into the air.
We flew over the residential and farming communities outside of Hilo , our pilot telling us about schools and farms along the way. The farmland began to show signs of volcano activity the area is known for. Black lava fields encroaching on farmland.
Up ahead we could see steam in the distance, we were getting close to the Pu’u O’o Vent. This epicenter of #volcanic activity began erupting in 1986 and by the year 1992 had destroyed 200 homes and added 300 acres of new land the The Big Island.
As we closed in on the vent steam was pushing out in so many areas. We circled closer around the flow and the crater and saw the lava breaking through the surface.
We saw where magma had swallowed the roads, a cul-de-sac of a housing estate surrounded by lava. As we watched a tree, the last one standing of someones front garden, burst into flames.
One couldn’t help but be awed by the power of the scene, the #magma, the Lava, the #volcano, mother Pele. The flashes of angry red magma, glowing and bubbling before cooling and hardening to a dark brown or black lava form.
We circled a few times over the magma lava flows, first dipping one way then the other, so that each person in the helicopter could get an unobstructed view. In our doors in the back there were sliding windows we could open for photography, going over the magma I put my hand out of the window and was astonished by the heat, even this high up. I’m glad we didn’t choose the “doors off” experience, it would have been very warm indeed, like standing close to a bonfire. We spent a good twenty minutes circling the magma and lava.
This up-close and personal look at magma and the volcano was the highlight of our whole Hawaiian trip.
We all didn’t want to leave and fly back to Hilo, even though there was promises of lovely waterfalls and beautiful coastline.
It was the Hawaiian Volcano, Lava flows, magma that we had come to see.
It didn’t disappoint, it certainly was a once in a lifetime experience. If you have the opportunity you should certainly do this. We Loved it!
The Travel Channel (@travelchannel) named the aerial tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as number one in the “Top Ten World’s Best Helicopter Experiences.”
UPDATE- The Magma is flowing again threatening houses in Pahoa OCT 2014
UPDATE The Volcano has swallowed first home 11/11/2014